Ten counties in northern Colorado are in serious talks about breaking off from the rest of the state to become the 51st U.S. state, reports CBS 4 Denver.
The movement stems from its organizers frustration with state lawmakers passing restrictions on guns and the oil and gas industry, as well as raising renewable energy standards for rural co-ops. The ten Colorado counties have been talking about seceding since last month and representatives from each met on Monday in Akron to draw up plans for a new state called North Colorado, which would better represent the interests of rural Colorado.
The counties that would make up North Colorado include: Weld, Logan, Sedgwick, Morgan, Phillips, Yuma, Washington, Kit Carson, Lincoln and Cheyenne.
“I say 80 percent of the oil and gas revenue in the state of Colorado is coming out of northeastern Colorado – Weld, Yuma County, and some of other counties,” Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway said. “Seventy percent of the K-12 funding is coming off the state lands in Weld County alone. I’m telling you we are economic drivers.”
Should the secession fail, county commissioners discussed a backup plan that would involve changing the makeup of the state Senate. Rather than 35 state Senator, each of the state's 64 counties would have its own Senator.
“We need to figure out a way to re-enfranchise the people who feel politically disenfranchised now and ignored,” Conway said.
In order for the secession to succeed, approval is needed from voters, the Colorado General Assembly and U.S. Congress. If the measure does succeed, it will be the fifth time in U.S. history that a new state was formed from seceding another.